Hungarian Open 17-21 Jan 2012
Andrew Baggaley was by far Britain’s leading performer at the ITTF World Tour Hungarian Open in Budapest from 17th – 21st January 2012 as he stormed through to the last 16 of the Men’s Singles event for the first time in his career.
In the first World Tour event of 2012 (formerly known as ITTF Pro Tour) Andrew was in stunning form as he firstly was drawn in a difficult 3 man qualification group that initially saw Andrew score a convincing 4-0 win against Florent Lambiet from Belgium before facing Austria’s Martin Storf which saw an epic battle between the two players to qualify from the group.
Andrew started the match by winning the important first set 18-16 before going on to take a commanding 3-0 sets lead. Storf impressively clawed back the deficit to 3-2 before Andrew was able to close out the match in the 6th set to take a 4-2 victory and a place in the sudden death final qualification round.
Andrew was then drawn against the dangerous Czech player Lubomir Jancarik who had also impressively qualified through his group. Andrew was by now in top form and made short work of the Czech national team player by winning 4-0 in under 20 minutes to take him in into the 1st Round of the main draw the following day.
The 1st Round Andrew was drawn against World No. 72 Emmanuel Lebesson from France which saw Andrew score an exceptional 4-1 victory over the powerful Frenchman. Andrew showed exceptional finesse and power to contain and eventually break his opponent in a world-class display from the Milton Keynes star.
In the 2nd Round Andrew was up against the crowd favourite and local player Adam Lindner from the host nation Hungary. With exceptionally partisan support, Lindner was going to prove a highly difficult opponent especially as in the previous round he had beaten the Korean World No.30 Seo Hyun Deok and had also defeated a number of illustrious opponents in the qualification stages.
Lindner took the opening set before Andrew took what seemed to be full charge of the match and a commanding 3-1 lead. Lindner then made a strong comeback to level at 3 sets each and continued by taking what seemed to be a match winning 9-7 lead in the deciding 7th set. Andrew then found amazing inner strength and self-belief to win two direct points from his serve followed by taking 2 more points from the Lindner serve to win an amazing encounter 11-9 in the 7th set!
This was now a breakthrough event for Andrew, in the 3rd Round he was up against the World No.5 Xu Xin from China, a player who has not lost to a European in a World Tour/Pro Tour event in almost 2 years. Andrew certainly was highly competitive against arguably the best server in the world finally going down in 4-0 but clearly could have won the third and possibly fourth sets. Andrew actually scored more points against Xu Xin than the reigning Olympic Champion Ma Lin, in the following round!
Andrew commented shortly after his best ever World Tour/Pro Tour event and also the best performance of any British player in 4 years...
“This tournament gives me massive confidence at the start of the Olympic year and really proves I am a serious contender for success in London 2012.
As I have said previously, I am very positive I can qualify directly into the London Olympics through the European and World Qualification events in April/May 2012 and know I have a lot more potential to take my game to another level before London 2012. It is a major breakthrough for me to reach the 3rd Round of a World Tour event, particularly as I have only regularly played the tour for over a year. I am very satisfied but I have more to come!”
Full scores for the World Tour Hungarian Open can be consulted here.
In other news, the Table Tennis star recently did an interview for MKWeb. The interview can be found here.